HAMPTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Disgraced Hampton County attorney Alex Murdaugh and his accomplices are accused of stealing millions over the past 17 years from two children whose mother and brother were killed in a 2005 car crash.
According to Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter, attorneys retained to represent Alaynia Spohn and Hannah Plyler, Murdaugh negotiated a large payout for the girls, much of which was frozen until the girls turned 18. Former Palmetto State Bank CEO Russell Laffitte, who was indicted along with Murdaugh for a slew of similar crimes, was made conservator of the funds.
When the girls turned 18 and attempted to access some of the accounts, “the money wasn’t there and there was a mad scramble to come up with the money,” according to Richter. Richter said that it appears Laffitte stole money from other clients to cover the missing funds as part of a “broad-based systemic pattern of fraud.”
“I still don’t think that we’re appreciating the full scope of it,” Richter said. “But like any Ponzi scheme, ultimately one day, you run out of people to steal from and the scheme collapses.”
Bland said that he and Richter intend to trace “every use or misuse of the monies,” noting that “funds held in conservatorship accounts are sacrosanct. They are not slush funds. They are not the personal piggy banks of the people appointed to protect the money.”